Garrett v. Stirling et al
ORDER finding that the above-captioned case shall pertain only to Defendants Richardson, Rogers, and McBride and directing the Clerk of Court to assign three new civil action numbers to Plaintiff to correspond with the incidents and defendants listed in this order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on 5/24/2018. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Robert Louis Garrett, Jr.,
Director Bryan P. Stirling, et al.,
C/A No. 0:18-1309-CMC-PJG
The plaintiff, Robert Louis Garrett, Jr., proceeding pro se, filed this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in
this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.
By a contemporaneously issued report and recommendation, the court recommended that the
claims against most of the seventy-seven defendants in this matter be summarily dismissed pursuant
to § 1915 and § 1915A. As to the remaining defendants, the court observes that the Complaint raises
claims concerning at least five separate incidents that took place between April 2015 and May 2016.
All of the incidents involve Plaintiff’s claims of excessive force during his incarceration at three
separate South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) facilities; however, other than the
nature of the claim, the incidents appear to be wholly unrelated.
Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits defendants to be joined in one action
if any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to
or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions and occurrences, and any
question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise. Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2). If parties are
misjoined, the court may add or drop a party or sever any claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 21.
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Here, Plaintiff’s claims against the seventy-seven named defendants do not arise out of the
same transaction or occurrence, or series thereof. Thus, Plaintiff’s claims should be severed into four
separate cases. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 21 (“On motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just
terms, add or drop a party. The court may also sever any claim against a party.”); see also Fed. R.
Civ. P. 20(a)(2); Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 952 (7th Cir. 2011) (providing that where a
plaintiff fails to observe the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) with respect
to joinder of parties, unrelated claims against different defendants belong in separate lawsuits, and
the action may be severed into separate lawsuits). To comply with the Rules, Plaintiff’s claims
should be divided into the following four separate groups of defendants:
Plaintiff’s allegations against Defendants Franklin Richardson, Rogers, and
McBride, for an incident that occurred on April 13, 2015 at Lee Correctional
Institution. (“Lee Incident”)
Plaintiff’s allegations against Defendants Chad Binkley and “Unknown
Officers From 9 May 2015 Attack,” for an incident that occurred on May 9,
2015 at Perry Correctional Institution. (“May 2015 Perry Incident”)
Plaintiff’s allegations against Defendants Randall Fowler, Jr.; Lasley;
Williams; DeGeorgis; Wantonta Golden; Jeff Bilyeu; R. Blackburn; Kenneth
Myers; James Jennings; and Nathan Rice; for an incident that occurred on
June 19 or 20, 2015 at Perry Correctional Institution. (“June 2015 Perry
Plaintiff’s allegations against Defendants Aull; Beckett, Jr.; T. Esterline; and
James Parrish; for multiple incidents that occurred at Broad River
Correctional Institution between January 2016 and May 2016, and his
allegations against Parrish stemming from an incident that occurred on May
25, 2016.1 (“Broad River Incidents”)
Although the May 25, 2016 incident at Broad River appears to have concerned only
Defendant Parrish, the court concludes that this claim can be joined with Plaintiff’s claims against
Parrish arising out of the other Broad River incidents. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a) (“A party asserting
a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or alternative
claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party.”).
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Accordingly, Plaintiff’s claims are hereby severed into four distinct matters, as divided above.
TO THE CLERK OF COURT:
The above-captioned case should pertain only to the Lee Incident. Therefore, the Clerk of
Court is directed to terminate the defendants who were not summarily dismissed by the court’s
contemporaneously issued report and recommendation, and the defendants listed above with any
incident other than the Lee Incident. Thus, the only defendants that should remain in the instant
matter are Defendants Franklin Richardson, Rogers, and McBride.
The Clerk of Court is directed to assign three new civil action numbers to Plaintiff, one for
each of the other incidents listed above. The Clerk shall add as defendants to each docket the named
defendants that correspond to each incident, as they are listed above. The Clerk shall file this order
as the initial docket entry in the newly created cases. The Clerk shall also file the Complaint (ECF
No. 1) and Additional Attachments (ECF Nos. 5 & 6) from the instant case’s docket as entries in
each of the new cases. The Clerk shall also send a copy of this order to Plaintiff.
Based on the foregoing, your case has been severed into four separate cases. You will receive
an order for each case explaining how to file the documents necessary to bring your cases into proper
form for initial review and the issuance and service of process. Each of your cases will have separate
case captions and case numbers that will aid you in keeping the cases separate.
Going forward, the instant case (Garrett v. Richardson, C/A No. 0:18-1309-CMC-PJG) will
concern only your allegations about the incident that occurred on April 13, 2015 at Lee Correctional
Institution, and the only defendants in this case are Defendants Franklin Richardson, Rogers, and
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McBride. The court contemporaneously issued an order for this case that explains how to bring this
case into proper form for initial review and the issuance and service of process.
Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. Therefore, Plaintiff’s attention is directed to the following
Plaintiff must place the civil action number listed above (C/A No. 0:18-1309-CMCPJG) on any document provided to the court pursuant to this order, in this case. Any
future filings in this case must be sent to the address below (901 Richland Street,
Columbia, South Carolina 29201). All documents requiring Plaintiff’s signature
shall be signed with Plaintiff’s full legal name written in Plaintiff’s own handwriting.
Pro se litigants shall not use the “s/typed name” format used in the Electronic Case
Filing System. In all future filings with this court, Plaintiff is directed to use lettersized (8½ inches by 11 inches) paper only, to write or type text on one side of a sheet
of paper only and not to write or type on both sides of any sheet of paper. Plaintiff
is further instructed not to write to the edge of the paper, but to maintain one inch
margins on the top, bottom, and sides of each paper submitted.
You are ordered to always keep the Clerk of Court advised in writing (901 Richland
Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201) if your address changes for any reason,
so as to assure that orders or other matters that specify deadlines for you to meet will
be received by you. If, as a result of your failure to comply with this order, you fail
to meet a deadline set by this court, your case may be dismissed for violating this
order. Therefore, if you have a change of address before this case is ended, you must
comply with this order by immediately advising the Clerk of Court in writing of such
change of address and providing the court with the docket number of all pending
cases you have filed with this court. Your failure to do so will not be excused by the
IT IS SO ORDERED
Paige J. Gossett
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
May 24, 2018
Columbia, South Carolina
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